People Are Sharing Travel Horror Stories, And You’ll Be Thankful They Didn’t Happen To You


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Traveling isn’t always smooth sailing. In fact, it’s often quite an adventure, and there can be plenty of bumps in the road. But some peoples’ experiences abroad might just make you feel better about your own. So I combed through the subreddit r/travel and responses from the BuzzFeed Community and rounded up a whole bunch of travel blunders, mistakes, mishaps, and more. If you have one to add, leave it in the comments!

1.“I was living with a host family in Japan, and when I first arrived, I asked where the bathroom was. Turns out I should have asked for the toilet instead, because they are separate rooms in many Japanese homes. I was then shown to the bathroom, and my host immediately drew a bath for me before I could say anything. I must have seemed so rude, and this interaction still haunts me 12 years later.”

Comedy Central


2.“I was backpacking through South Asia, and one night, I ran out of bottled water. I had been warned not to drink any tap water, but the place where I was staying at had a water cooler. I figured one glass couldn’t really hurt. Well, I was wrong. I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom (we’re talking 30 times in a single night), and I almost died of dehydration.”

Warner Brothers


3.“An elderly woman died three seats away from me on a plane. We were only one hour into a seven hour international flight.”

Pop TV


4.“My husband and I were in Rome, and we went to dinner at a trattoria that is well-known for its pasta…and offal. We tried to play it safe, avoiding things like tripe and liver, but it’s worth noting that there was only an Italian menu, and the staff spoke almost zero English. We noticed there was a special, which was some sort of prosciutto. Great! When the dish came out, it didn’t look like any prosciutto we’d ever seen before, but we decided to eat it anyway. It was only when we got the bill and saw prosciutto di cuore that I realized we’d just eaten cured heart.”

A plate with a slice of bread and cured meat.

5.“I spent six months in Manila. One night when I’d recently arrived in the Philippines, I was drinking with some friends, and I got hungry. So I walked down the street looking for some street food that might still be open. Up one of the alleys I saw a group of people eating noodles called pancit. There was a huge bowl, and someone was spooning it into styrofoam containers…”


“…I went over and asked how much it cost, but the guy serving the noodles offered me a cup for free with a big smile. I thought he was being extra hospitable because he could tell I was a foreigner. I ended up hanging out and chatting with the group. They were so friendly, and we were just chatting, eating, and drinking beers. Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom, and one of the men directed me into a house. As I stepped into the living room, I saw a dead body. It was an old woman laid out in an open casket. So yeah, that’s how I attended my first Filipino wake.”


6.“I was flying to a conference, and I was taking my bag through security. The TSA agent took my bag and said she needed to look through it. She pulled out my retractable phone charger and then put the bag through the machine once more. She came back and asked if I had any more electronics in my bag. She was frantically searching my belongings and finally pulled out a bullet vibrator from the front pocket. My mouth completely dropped because I had no idea it was in there. I’ve never been more embarrassed.”

A bag going through airport security.

7.“During a tour through Germany, I kept seeing signs on the side of the road for a town called Ausfahrt. Each sign also listed how many kilometers remained until that town. Every 10 minutes, I’d look out the window, and I would still see the Ausfahrt sign. I finally turned to another passenger and said it was weird that we hadn’t reached Ausfahrt yet. The man replied to me, ‘You do realize that Ausfahrt means exit, right?’ I was mortified.”

A German exit sign.

8.“A flight attendant once threw up on my lap because she drank too much before we took off. I’m pretty sure she got fired. I was only 11 at the time.”



9.“I was in Japan, and I was trying to say thank you to a man who helped me find the correct train. I bowed and said arigato, but I noticed the man was looking at me in a funny way. My husband later told me that I had bowed the way Japanese people bow when they’re showing respect…to a dead person at his or her funeral.”



10.“I was hiking in Nepal with a friend who was not taking it slow, not drinking enough water, and getting bad altitude sickness at 21,000 ft. He ended up needing to be evacuated by helicopter. The bill came out to $15,000, but luckily he had travel insurance which covered 95% of it.”



11.“I was traveling to Vietnam with a friend of mine. I asked her if we needed to get tourist visas because she had been to Vietnam before. She said no, so I didn’t think anything more of it. But I overlooked the fact that she is Korean, and while Koreans don’t need a visa to travel to Vietnam, Americans (like me) do. She ended up going by herself, and I was out the cost of a plane ticket. It was the stupidest mistake I’ve made while traveling, but I definitely learned a lesson about doing my own research.”



12.“I was staying at a hotel, and I got really drunk one night. I decided to take a late night shower when I got back to my hotel room. I laid down in the shower and fell asleep, but my body was blocking the drain. I woke up a few hours later only to find that the entire floor was flooded. It cost me a €1,000 fee and a very stern reprimand.”

A tub filled with water.

13.“My family took a vacation to Disney World, which we were all so excited about. But my parents got into a huge fight and decided they wanted a divorce on the second day of the week-long trip. It ended up being the most awful week of my life — far from the most magical place on earth.”

Disney's Magic Kingdom and a big crowd.

14.“While visiting Paris, I learned the hard way that just because a man is standing under the ‘taxi’ sign, it doesn’t mean he’s a legitimate taxi driver. It was a great way to lose 90 euros.”

A Parisian taxi.

15.“I was out to dinner at a restaurant in Barcelona, and I suddenly didn’t feel well. I got up to go to the bathroom and splash some water on my face, but I didn’t make it far enough. I fainted a few feet from my table in the middle of everyone. It was horribly embarrassing, and to this day, I could never show my face again there, which is a shame because it was an amazing meal before the incident.”


Hannah Loewentheil

16.“I was traveling in Krabi, Thailand and checked into a hotel room. Later in the evening, I headed out and had several drinks, but when I was ready to call it a night, I couldn’t find the hotel. I was walking around for hours with no cell service or map. The hotel had locked up for the night and looked completely different from the entrance I saw during the daylight. It didn’t even have the name on the front. I finally found my way back, but it was a process.”



17.“My wife and I were in the Bahamas, and over the course of the first day of the trip, I started having stomach pains. A few hours later, we were at a local hospital where they said everything was fine. Luckily, my wife happens to be an oncologist, and when she saw my CT scan, she noticed that my gallbladder was the size of my liver. She immediately decided we had to get back to the states. We paid for a medivac to the tune of $22k, and I was in surgery back home within 12 hours.”



18.“I was staying with a host family in France, and on my first night, my host mother asked me if I wanted seconds at dinner. With my limited French skills, I responded Non merci, je suis pleine. I wasn’t expecting the whole table to burst into laughter. Turns out this word has multiple meanings depending on how it’s used…and while a glass could be pleine (as in full), a woman could be pleine (as in pregnant).”

Paramount Pictures Studios


19.“I was traveling in Germany when that volcano erupted in Iceland that basically halted European air travel and closed all airports. To get home, I had to drive through Poland and several Baltic countries while watching Forrest Gump dubbed in Polish on repeat for 24 hours.”



20.“I was traveling in Italy with a friend, and we missed the last train out of Capri for the day, so my buddy suggested we camp out. We searched for a while and found a flat spot off the side of a hill. The whole area was very dark. We fell asleep and woke up to a dozen or so Italian cops holding machine guns and screaming at us. Apparently, we set up camp on a hospital helipad, and a helicopter almost landed on us.”

Apatow Productions


21.“I took a flight with my very active 2-year-old son who threw a tantrum the entire flight. It got so bad that the flight attendant asked me to step into the restroom and suggested that I stay in there until he ‘calmed down.’ That was a level of hell I hadn’t quite experienced yet.”



22.“I booked a flight to Santiago. Months later, I’m checking into my flight the night before and suddenly realized I booked my flight for Santiago, Chile…when I meant to go to Santiago, Spain. But I made the most of it: I repacked my bag and flew to Chile six hours later with zero itinerary or reservations. I ended up going to Patagonia and had an awesome trip, but it was a stressful start.”

Pop TV


Have you made a travel mistake, a blunder, or experienced something embarrassing while abroad? Tell us your best travel stories in the comments!

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